Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies

Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies
School of Sociology and Social Policy
Social Sciences Building
Leeds, LS2 9JT

Tel: +44 (0) 113 343 3770
Fax: +44 (0) 113 343 4415


Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies: Research Salon

Date: 28 February 2013, 4.00pm
Location: Seminar Room LG 17, Michael Sadler Building

As part of the on-going programme of Research Salons organised by CIGS, we are pleased to invite you to our next event which focuses on The History of Sexuality. Two papers will be given and there will be plenty of time for discussion of their content as well as of the broader issues reflecting debates on the History of Sexuality itself.

Queer Objects and Queer Intimacies in the Historic House
Alison Oram, Professor in Social and Cultural History, Leeds Metropolitan University


Historic houses frequently present domestic space “as if the family had just stepped out”, with the curatorial intention of making historic objects and interiors welcoming, approachable and accessible to a wide range of visitors including children and parents. Does this idea of ‘family’ inevitably imply a heteronormative household? In what ways have more challenging and complex histories of queer domesticities and alternative households (eg of unmarried siblings) been represented in historic houses (and in museums of the home)?

This paper will discuss the interpretation of rooms, objects and biographies at several historic homes whose inhabitants have been claimed for lesbian, gay and queer history, including Sissinghurst (Kent), Smallhythe (Kent), Charleston (Sussex), Shibden Hall (W Yorkshire), and Plas Newydd (Llangollen). By 2012-13, all of these sites published guidebooks which offered visitors some account of the queer intimacies of previous owners. However the presentation of the site and objects (such as collected ornaments, beds, personal possessions, gravestones, interior decoration, room layouts and guided tours) varies enormously in indicating queer heritage. This paper will discuss the recent development of the concept of “queer domesticity” by historians and geographers and how this might suggest ways of opening up the readings of such heritage spaces to visitors.

The Uses of the Body to Improve the Species: Portuguese eugenics as seen through the Boletim Geral das Colónias (1930-1960)
Dr. Richard Cleminson, Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies/CIGS, University of Leeds

This paper seeks to examine discourse on eugenics in Portugal between the passing of the Colonial Act by the regime of António Oliveira de Salazar and the beginning of the wars of independence in Portugal’s African colonies in the 1960s. The ways in which eugenics was established as a force to organize bodies are examined in order to allow for an analysis of the key role that the body would play in the organization of the ‘biological resources’ of the nation, both in continental Portugal and the ‘overseas territories’ as conceived by the regime. The importance of organizing the colonial body and the management of miscegenation were mutual processes of construction and intervention by the state and the eugenics movement as means of guaranteeing an optimum species, the continuation of colonial power and as an attempt to satisfy discordant international voices calling for a revision of Portugal’s colonial role. In order to argue these hypotheses, this study will draw on a range of empirical sources, including the laws of the Salazar regime, the writings of Portuguese eugenists and, especially, reviews such as the Boletim Geral das Colónias.

(No knowledge of the Portuguese language is necessary)

This entry was posted in Events, Research Salons.

Sofia Santos (Universidade de Porto): Conducting Research on Sex Education within Portuguese and British Schools: Challenges and Dilemmas

Date: 20 February 2013, 1.30pm
Location: Parkinson Building, Room B11

Sofia Santos, Universidade de Porto

During the last decades debates around sexuality, sexual rights and sexual education have brought new legitimacy to research on sexuality. But despite this increasing visibility and the changes it has enabled, social scientists are still facing great difficulties and obstacles in furthering this research. Currently, these topics are still seen as polemical, deviant and restricted to some academic groups. Thus, as researchers in this field, we have to ask ourselves “is it possible to conduct valid research on sexuality?” and “what kinds of problems will we face during the fieldwork because of the nature of our topics?”.

In this session, I propose a discussion about the difficulties of researching young people’s sexuality in the context of schooling, drawing on experiences from my PhD project on sex education.

This entry was posted in CIGS Seminar Series 2012-13, Events.

ESRC seminar series: Different Subject, Diverse Strands: Diversity at the (Inter)discipline, 18th January 2013: Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender

Date: 18 January 2013, 1.00pm to 7.00pm
Location: Beech Grove House

This is the first Seminar in a series sponsored by the ESRC – Critical Diversities @ the intersection: Policies, Practices, Perspectives. The seminar will examine the contributions made by different disciplines to understandings of diversity and the continuities and conceptual shifts therein.


  • 12.00pm – 1.00pm: Registration and Lunch
  • 1.00pm–2.30pm: Prof. Brian Heaphy (University of Manchester); Prof. Diane Richardson (Newcastle University) and Dr. Surya Monro (University of Huddersfield)
  • 2.30pm – 2.45pm: Break
  • 2.45pm–4.15pm: Prof. Yvette Taylor (Weeks Centre for Social and Policy Research, LSBU)and Dr. Imogen Tyler (Lancaster University)
  • 4.15pm-5.45pm: Postgraduate/ECR Panel: Michelle Addison; Victoria Mountford (both Newcastle University); Madeline-Sophie Abbas; Angelica Pesarini (both University of Leeds)

From 6.00pm-7.00pm: Wine Reception and Book Launch: Taylor, Y. (ed) (2012) Educational Diversity: The Subject of Difference and Different Subjects. Palgrave Macmillan; Richardson, D. and Monro, S. (2012) Sexuality, Equality and Diversity. Palgrave Macmillan.

This entry was posted in ESRC Seminar Series: Critical Diversities @ the Intersection, Events.

Dr Marcella Koscianczuk: Between home and homeland, reconstruction of Palestinian women understanding of safety

Date: 21 November 2012, 2.00pm
Location: Blenheim Terrace SR (G.15) House No. 11-14

I would like to discuss some ideas connected with my work on Palestinian women understanding of safety and unsafety according to their political, social and economical situation. The presentation will show some results of my field work which I have been doing during the summer 2012.

I will show the strong connections and intersectional implication between national, local, and gender issues. The speech will answer such questions as:

  • How national ideology is connected to understanding of private/public sphere, what does it mean nation for men and women?
  • How the idea of the homeland is connected to the idea of home?
  • If the body plays an important role in understanding idea of safety?

My research was based on photo-interviews so we may also discuss such issues as: the limits of visual anthropology and its role in non-European surroundings. What is interesting, I will show how visual methodology shows the contradictions in understanding national and personal identity…

This entry was posted in CIGS Seminar Series 2012-13, Events.

Dr Maud Perrier – Professional Migrant Women and the Contradictions of Contemporary Femininities

Date: 15 May 2013, 5.00pm
Location: Seminar Room, Beech Grove House

Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies Seminar Series

Dr Maud Perrier: School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies, University of Bristol

According to McRobbie (2008), under neo-liberalism female subjectivity has become reconstituted through economic participation, consumer citizenship and self-regulation. Marnina Gonick writes that ‘Girls are simultaneously recognized as the potential idealized autonomous neoliberal subject even as they are also always already at risk of failing to secure the position.’ Thus femininity in late modernity is troublesome in that it provides both opportunities and constraints for young women. This paper extends feminist scholarship on the contradictions of contemporary femininities by looking at how the experience of professional women’s migration produces particular gendered subjectivities and new kinds of psychical conflict. How do highly educated women without children who live far away from their families negotiate their simultaneous desire to be an autonomous achieving individual and a relational family member?

I argue that there is an affinity between post-femininity and geographical mobility: the migrant professional single woman encapsulates in new ways the contradictions of neo-liberal femininity. The geographically mobile career woman represents one of the most docile neo-liberal subject: global, self-made, professionally successful and independent from home and family responsibilities. The narratives of women who have ‘put work first’ are particularly salient given that contemporary normative ideals of femininity privilege educational and career success and increasingly centre on being economically independent, autonomous and self-responsible (Allen and Osgood, 2009). I also suggest that collective biography is a methodology that enables an enquiry into the relationship between feminine subjectivity, neoliberalism and place which encompasses an affective mapping out of the unconscious feelings, fantasies and desires that are entangled in the home/abroad and work/family nexus.

This entry was posted in CIGS Seminar Series 2012-13, Events.

Dr Camilla Bassi – What’s Radical about Reality TV? An Unexpected Tale of a Chinese Antihero and Space for Lesbian Identity

Date: 06 March 2013, 5.00pm
Location: Seminar Room, Beech Grove House

Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies Seminar Series

Dr Camilla Bassi: Cultural, Communication and Computing Research Institute, Sheffield Hallam University

Building upon previous research on Shanghai’s gay political economy, this presentation will explore the remarkable phenomenon of the reality television show, “Mongolian Cow Sour Yogurt Super Girl Contest”. Both the popularity and consequences of Super Girl will be discussed, through the analysis of interview material and secondary documentation. Moreover, connections will be made between the socio-cultural and the politico-economic aspects of the Super Girl phenomenon, in order to fully illustrate the radical space that was created in China for an antihero and lesbian identity; so radical it seems, that the Super Girl show was axed.

This entry was posted in CIGS Seminar Series 2012-13, Events.

Dr Maria Do Mar Pereira: Pushing, Pulling and Splitting Feminisms: The status of Feminist Scholarship in Contemporary Academia

Date: 20 February 2013, 5.00pm
Location: Seminar Room, Beech Grove House

Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies Seminar Series

Dr Maria Do Mar Pereira – Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies, University of Leeds

How do academics demarcate what constitutes ‘proper’ academic knowledge? And to what extent is feminist scholarship recognised as such? In this presentation, I examine these questions using material from an ethnographic study of academia in Portugal which draws on debates in feminist epistemology, science and technology studies, and Foucauldian analyses of the nature of knowledge production. I will show that in classrooms and conferences non-feminist scholars very commonly describe feminist scholarship as capable of generating credible and valuable knowledge, BUT only in some instances and in limited ways.

I will present examples of these adversative claims (i.e. propositions that express opposition or discrepancy through a ‘but’ or equivalent adversative conjunction) and analyse their structure, content and uses of caricature and humour, charting how epistemic boundaries are drawn in/through them and how feminist scholarship is positioned in relation to those boundaries. I argue that this boundary-work produces a representation of feminist scholarship as being located partly within, and partly outside, the realm of proper knowledge, a move which I designate as an epistemic splitting of that scholarship. I suggest that this splitting enables and legitimates a selective engagement with feminist work, because it provides non-feminist scholars with a recognised epistemological rationale for taking into account the feminist insights which broadly fit mainstream frameworks, while simultaneously rejecting as epistemologically unsound the feminist critiques of those frameworks.

This entry was posted in CIGS Seminar Series 2012-13, Events.

Dr Jamie Heckert: Loving Politics: On the Art of Living Together

Date: 06 February 2013,
Location: Seminar Room, Beech Grove House

Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies Seminar Series

Dr Jamie Heckert: Anarchist Studies Network


This entry was posted in CIGS Seminar Series 2012-13, Events.

Dr Robert Howes: Problematising Sexuality in 19th Century Portugal: The Brazilian Connection

Date: 23 January 2013, 5.00pm
Location: Seminar Room, Beech Grove House

Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies Seminar Series

Dr Robert Howes: Dept. of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies, King’s College London


The paper will show how new ideas about gender and sexuality were popularised in late 19th and early 20th century Portugal, with a particular emphasis on the country’s close economic and cultural relations with its former colony, Brazil. It will analyse examples taken from literary discourse, press reports of sensational criminal trials and scientific publications aimed at the general public.

This entry was posted in CIGS Seminar Series 2012-13, Events.

Professor Robyn Wiegman: CIGS Annual Lecture – The Times We’re In

Date: 05 December 2012, 5.00pm
Location: Western Lecture Theatre – Leeds University Business School

Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies Annual Lecture

This is an event organised by the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies in conjunction with two Leeds Humanities Research Institute (LHRI) related projects – the Between Disciplines; lecture series and the Home, Community and Belonging research theme.

Robyn Wiegman: Professor of English and Women’s Studies, Duke University, US


In 1997, when Eve Sedgwick provocatively challenged the critical hegemony of paranoid reading, the alternative she offered – reparation – was widely associated with the personal, sentimental, and anti-intellectual. Today, the situation is vastly different, as feminist and queer studies scholars have reoriented their critical labor not just toward the study of affect but toward the cultivation of what we might call, following Teresa Brenna, new “affective atmospheres” for theory. Think Cruel Optimism, Feeling Backward, Lose Your Mother, and Time Binds. Each of these works inhabits a temporal idiom – as ordinary, melancholic, haunting, or eroticizing – to contemplate the conditions of the political present. By parsing the language, sensations, and political investments of “The Times We’re In,” this talk sketches the reparative inclinations of feminist and queer theory today.

This entry was posted in CIGS Annual Lecture, Events.

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